Monday, September 30, 2013

TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards - Here I Come!

Everyone loves an awards ceremony. And luckily enough, there is one to suit just about any taste. If social depravity is your scene, you just had a big score last month - but enough has been written about that elsewhere. If, like me, you try to avoid that whole 'weeping for our future' sentiment, and instead like to be inspired by real talent and positive creative spirit, children's book awards may be right up your alley.

I just received my invitation to the 2013 TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards, and I am so excited! A number of awards will be offered that evening:

Monica Hughes Award for
Science Fiction and Fantasy


The Girl With Borrowed Wings
Written by Rinsai Rossetti
Dial Books

Island of Doom:
The Hunchback Assignments IV
Written by Arthur Slade
HarperCollins Publishers

Rebel Heart
(Dustlands)
Written by Moira Young
Doubleday Canada


Seraphina
Written by Rachel Hartman
Doubleday Canada


Shadows Cast by Stars

Written by Catherine Knutsson
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

John Spray Mystery Award

Becoming Holmes
(The Boy Sherlock Holmes)
Written by Shane Peacock
Tundra Books

Breakaway
Written by Michael Betcherman
Razorbill

Devil's Pass
(Seven the series)
Written by Sigmund Brouwer
Orca Book Publishers

The Lynching of Louie Sam

Written by Elizabeth Stewart
Annick Press

Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure
(The Neil Flambé Capers)

Written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Geoffrey Bilson Award for
Historical Fiction for Young People

A Call to Battle
(I Am Canadian)
Written by Gillian Chan
Scholastic Canada

The Lynching of Louie Sam
Written by Elizabeth Stewart
Annick Press

Making Bombs for Hitler
Written by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Scholastic Canada

Violins of Autumn
Written by Amy McAuley
Walker Publishing Company, Inc.

Yesterday's Dead

Written by Pat Bourke
Second Story Press

Norma Fleck Award for
Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction


Going Up! Elisha Otis's Trip to the Top

(Great Idea)
Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by David Parkins
Tundra Books

Kate & Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story

Written by Martin Springett
Photographs by Isobel Springett
Puffin Canada

Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War
Written by Deborah Ellis
Groundwood Books


Real Justice: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death - The Story of Steven Truscott

(Real Justice)
Written by Bill Swan
James Lorimer

Rescuing the Children: The Story of the Kindertransport
Written by Deborah Hodge
Tundra Books

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award

Mr. King's Things

Written and illustrated by Geneviève Côté
Kids Can Press


Mr. Zinger's Hat

Written by Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dušan Petričić
Tundra Books


The Stamp Collector
Written by Jennifer Lanthier
Illustrated by François Thisdale
Fitzhenry & Whiteside


Uncle Wally's Old Brown Shoe

Written and illustrated by Wallace Edwards
Orca Book Publishers


Virginia Wolf

Written by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Kids Can Press

TD Canadian Children’s
Literature Award


Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War

Written by Deborah Ellis
Groundwork Books


One Year in Coal Harbour

Written by Polly Horvath
Groundwood Books


The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Written by Susin Nielsen
Tundra Books

The Stamp Collector
Written by Jennifer Lanthier
Illustrated by François Thisdale
Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Virginia Wolf
Written by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Kids Can Press

TD Fan Choice Award
*New for 2013*

Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War
Written by Deborah Ellis
Groundwork Books


One Year in Coal Harbour

Written by Polly Horvath
Groundwood Books


The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Written by Susin Nielsen
Tundra Books

The Stamp Collector
Written by Jennifer Lanthier
Illustrated by François Thisdale
Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Virginia Wolf
Written by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Kids Can Press


The awards are administered by the Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) and were established in 2004 to recognize outstanding Canadian authors of books for children aged 1-12.
 
This year's Fan Choice Award is something new. Know a young reader who would love to win a trip to Toronto to see their favorite author awarded? Let them click on the link and nominate one of the books.
 
I have written about a couple of nominated titles in this blog. Readers may remember how moved I was by Susin Nielsen's Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen when I reviewed it here. I have also gushed about Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's Making Bombs for Hitler in this post. For now, I have a few more titles to acquaint myself with before the big night. Oh, and finding the perfect outfit to wear, too. I hear it is quite the gala!
 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baygirl

One hundred years ago, this month, my favorite bay girl entered the world.



I've written about Little Nanny in earlier posts. To say that she had an impact on my life would be a serious understatement. She was strong. She loved unconditionally. And she was so unimpressed with wealth and status. The way to her heart? Be an honest, hard-working, family person. And if you found a way into her heart, you were richly rewarded. And I haven't even mentioned the cooking part, yet. Happy Birthday, Nanny. I love you and miss you.

Last week I had the opportunity to meet another bay girl in the fictional character of Kit Ryan.  I have been anxiously awaiting the publication of Heather Smith's Baygirl since I first heard about its impending arrival last spring. And I wasn't disappointed. This gritty, realistic, coming-of-age story is about family and friendship; love, loss, and forgiveness.

Set in a Newfoundland outport on the eve of the 1992 Cod Moratorium, this YA novel follows the story of 16 year-old Kit and her family as they struggle with unemployment, displacement, and alcoholism. Kit has a tough life, and it's about to get a whole lot tougher. Leaving her friend Anne-Marie, and her refuge - her Nan, behind in Parsons Bay, Kit moves with her family to St. John's. The plan is to bunk in with her mother's brother until they get their feet on the ground. It seems, however, that bad times have befallen Kit's hip and young uncle, as well, and all does not go according to plan. In addition to the domestic upheaval that Kit endures, she also faces adversity from her new townie classmates. A gripping cast of characters helps Kit move beyond the initial angst, and when the unthinkable happens, she has a full supporting cast to carry her through.

Kit, herself, is such a likable character. She is strong-willed, sharp-tongued, and possesses one heck of a sense of humour. I have met this character before. Coincidence? I think the island breeds this type of feistiness. Regardless, Ms. Smith captures it perfectly. The language is also spot-on. Although a bit "salty" at times, it is this verisimilitude that has readers buying into the authenticity of the story.

Although I loved the characters, the language, the pacing of the story, and the narrative itself, I think it was the theme of hope and forgiveness that I appreciated the most. The details of the family's hardships are not sugar-coated by any means; yet, all is not bleak. Hope exists for Kit, and it comes at the hands of forgiveness.

And the cover art? Is anyone else blown away by the talent of Teresa Bubela, Steve Feltham, and Getty Images. Well done!


Smith, Heather. Baygirl. Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 2013. 275 p. (pb)

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction

Audience: YA, Teen (subject matter - alcoholism, mild language)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Carnegie Charm

A few weeks ago, while on vacation, I happened upon an old Carnegie library in Petoskey, Michigan.


There is something so familiar and comforting about these architectural gems of the past - stalwart reminders of an earlier generation.  I can still remember, as a child, driving somewhere with my family, when I first heard the term. My Dad had pointed out a "Carnegie Library" and I was intrigued and eager to hear more. I was also thrilled to learn that our own "Old Library" was, itself, a gift from this generous philanthropist.

By the turn of the twentieth century, Andrew Carnegie was a very wealthy industrial baron who had made his fortune in the steel industry. Being a strong believer in the value of education, he sought a suitable recipient for his legacy, and found it in the public library system. Working in partnership with communities, Carnegie established the Carnegie Library Building Grant. 2500 libraries, worldwide, were assisted by the Carnegie Foundation; 125 such buildings in Canada.

I have very vivid memories of being taken to my town's Carnegie library, by my older cousin, to sign up for my first library card. I was perhaps about five years old. I had big, stone steps to climb in order to gain entrance to this magical building. Once inside, adult patrons continued up another flight of stairs to the Adult Department; while younger visitors descended downstairs to the Children's Department. I remember taking such care to print my name in a neat and legible hand. Some things never change - I still list perfect penmanship as a must-have quality.

Equally as impressive as the old Petoskey Library, was the town's new library directly across the street. I was moved by the architectural detailing and the sense of history that was captured.



Entrance to the Children's Department

And of course, I was taken by the Hemingway connection to a "local" Ontario newspaper.




Daughter1, Daughter2, and OnlySon were frequent visitors of another Carnegie library when we lived in a beach town along the shores of Lake Huron. I was fortunate to visit that library again this summer. It is still operating as the public library, and never looked better. Such wonderful memories.

 

Do you have memories or photos of a Carnegie Library? I would love you to share them.

All photos my own

Thank you to the following wikispace for excellent background information:
http://libraryarchitecture.wikispaces.com/Andrew+Carnegie+and+the+Canadian+Carnegie+Libraries